Tunisia: Runoff Parliamentary Elections Fall Short of Engaging Electorate

by | Jan 29, 2023 | Political, Social, Tunisia


On 29 January 2023, Tunisian’s runoff parliamentary elections were held with a mere 11% of the electorate participating. Voter participation rates were the focus of many in anticipation of the second round of elections. While the rate rose slightly from the widely reported 8.8% turnout for the first round, the 11% reported is still among historically low voter turnouts internationally. Leaders of President Kais Saied’s main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, called the elections “theater,” having made good on promises to boycott both rounds of elections. Due to the boycott by most major political parties, the majority of the seats will likely be awarded to independent candidates.


Low voter turnout was, as in the first round of elections, an indicator of a broader disenchantment among Tunisians. In the post-revolutionary period, the country has failed to find a workable system to address the economic struggles of the average Tunisian family and, with time, faith in the government has eroded. We do not anticipate the election results to have a destabilizing effect on Tunisia in the short term, largely due to Tunisians being disengaged from the process. However, in the medium-term, economic and social pressures continue to mount for working-class Tunisians with growing overall potential for civil unrest as foundational issues go unaddressed.


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